Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Silver linings: Rams vs. 49ers
By Mike Sando
The facts: The St. Louis Rams finished the 2011 season with a 2-14 record after suffering a 34-27 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers in the Edward Jones Dome.
The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two.
Looking ahead: The Rams are searching for a new coach and general manager. They hold the second overall choice in the 2012 draft.
- The Rams scored two rushing touchdowns, one by Kellen Clemens and the other by Cadillac Williams. The 49ers had allowed only one rushing touchdown all season previously.
- Clemens' 18-yard run gave the Rams a 7-0 lead. His touchdown pass to Brandon Lloyd in the fourth quarter pulled the Rams within striking distance. A low completion percentage and one interception left Clemens with a 67.4 NFL passer rating out of a possible 158.3, but Clemens' broader contributions -- his rushing touchdown, plus his strong play late in the game -- equated to the Rams' highest single-game Total QBR score of the season (64.9 out of 100).
- Lloyd finished with 100 yards receiving, his first game in triple digits since the Rams acquired him from Denver before the trading deadline.
- Veteran defensive end James Hall collected his sixth sack of the season.
- Josh Brown and the Rams' kickoff coverage team executed a successful onside kick late in the game, keeping alive the Rams' chances. Linebacker Bryan Kehl made the recovery with 4:45 remaining. Cadillac Williams then scored on a 1-yard run to get the Rams within a touchdown at 34-27.
- Brown also made both field goal attempts. Punter Donnie Jones had a 41.2-yard net average.
- Resting Sam Bradford allowed the Rams' franchise quarterback to avoid further injury in an ultimately meaningless game against a tough defense. Clemens suffered a leg injury late in the game. There was no sense in putting Bradford at risk. He missed the game with a high-ankle sprain.